Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The wind of change

It’s nearly time to say farewell to an old familiar friend.
Don’t worry, I am not referring to myself, I’m not going anywhere. I’m afraid you’re stuck with me for a very long time.
My sentence is in relation to - our old mate called 2008.
So how do you feel about that? Are you dancing a merry dance and singing, “Good riddance to bad rubbish!” Or have you got kind of attached to 2008 and you’ll be sorry to see the back of it? Was this year your favourite year, your worst year, or a mediocre year?
As for my answer, I would say it hasn't been a bad 2008. I shouldn't complain because I haven't personally experienced any tragedies or disasters. My arms and legs haven’t mysteriously and suddenly dropped off, and my house has not been ripped from its foundations and landed on the Wicked Witch of the West. Or was it The Wicked Witch of the East? Remember the scene from The Wizard of Oz? (I love that film and I've stared at it far too many times, so you'd think I'd have the decency to remember which witch the house lands on.)
Anyway, back to the point. But on the other hand, I can’t say 2008 has been exactly life changing.
My friend and I were discussing this over a birthday lunch the other day - pasta, spinach, blue cheese, and garlic bread, if anyone is interested. We weren’t grumbling but we both agreed life seems to have hit a stand still. I for one fear I am drifting along. Still at my parents, still at the same job, still paying debts off (although one mammoth debt has finished) and I’m still drinking too much wine with friends.
Life could be worse. I’m happy enough, but I can’t help feeling there should be more to my life. I should be doing more. I should be achieving more. Can you understand my dilemma?
Next year, in 2009, I think I need to make a few changes. I don't wish for out of the blue uncomfortable changes, but I’d like to set myself goals. I might cut down on my social life and spending money, and try saving it for a welcome change.
Saving money for a home to call my own! This is want I really crave and fantasise about. And my knight in shining armour. And a family of my own. I know, I know, you can't magic these things out of thin air. When the time is right, you don't know what's around the corner, you can't change fate, etc, etc. I'm queen of the cliches, so I should learn to practice what I preach.
But maybe, dearest FPE readers, the wind of change is heading my way. Whistling and breezing along, shaking and waking anyone who dares to stand in its way. The wind of change could be long over due and making its way to me.
Can you sense it too?

I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2009!
Thank you for continually reading and commenting, and for not deserting me.
It would be lonely here without you.

The cheeky new year cocktail.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

'Twas the night before Christmas...

I knew I shouldn't have opened my big, don't tempt fate, mouth.
So much for my organised 1st of December state of mind, during The Enormous stopwatch in the sky post. Although I did warn you (and myself) that the organisation and calmness might not last long.
True to form, I was dashing around with a puff of smoke behind me - well, that's how I imagined I would have looked in cartoon land - on Christmas Eve. I realised I'd left a present at a friends house, discarded a forgotten present at the cash register in M&S, and I discovered the gift card I'd purchased for a requested birthday present did not have any money to spend on it. Don't ask me how I managed to mess up all three things, but somehow I did.
I popped to my local shops on Christmas Eve, trying not to scream and panic, pushing my way through the crowds, and trying to rectify my errors. I bumped into the world and his wife. I suppose it was my local shops and I have lived in the area for 35 years, so I guess it was only to be expected to bump into people I know and stand and politely chat to them. Whilst trying not to look at my watch and stress about the length of time I had until the shops closed early for Christmas.
I finally breathed a sigh of relief when I returned to my house, with the new presents and gift card, at 4pm on Christmas Eve.
"You've been ages!" my mother noted. I know! I disappeared to my bedroom to wrap the last of my presents. Finally, at last, everything was bought and wrapped and completed.
So I went to the pub with a friend for a glass of wine or two, before Father Christmas visited my house on his reindeer driven sleigh, and slid down the chimney to deliver our presents and nibble on our mince pies. What a guy.

I hope you had a glorious Christmas, dear readers.
Did everything go according to plan?
I trust you have a nice time with family and friends?
Did you eat far too much?

Christmas in my house was a pleasant affair.


With lots of Christmas food.


It wouldn't be Christmas without new socks and slippers.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Never give up hope

Something very good and very unexpected has happened to me, dear readers. And I thought I would share my joyful news with you.
Have I caught your attention? Are you now sitting bolt up right in your chair and trying to guess what this news could be? Or perhaps you are casually sprawled on the sofa, in a nonchalant frame of mind, wondering what to eat for your dinner.
For those who are interested in my announcement, let’s eliminate what my news could be.
Okay, firstly, I haven’t won the national lottery, at this rate I never will. George Michael hasn’t fallen head over heels in love with me. Sigh. Again, I fear this is an impossible dream. Hmmm. What else could it be, I hear you eagerly cry. Unfortunately I haven’t won a years supply of free cheese and chocolate. And I haven’t won a trip around the world, all expenses paid – that would be nice!
But…wait for it…drum roll and pause for a dramatic affect...I have a calendar.
As the keen FPE reader will know, I have been rather disappointed with my lack of calendars this year - see eight calendars post. This has now all changed.
Monday night I walked into the hall where my photography club is held, and I was greeted with the words, “Would you like a calendar?” Those five magic words were music to my ears.
Unbeknown to me, my photography club arranged for calendars to be printed, boasting fantastic pictures taken from the members, and all proceeds for the calendars will be donated to the local hospice. How about that. Not only do I own a calendar to keep track of very important dates next year, but I have one containing glorious pictures, photographed by people I know. And my money will be helping those less fortunate than myself, at St Francis Hospice. What more could I ask for? Apart from winning the lottery, George Michael's love, free cheese and chocolate, and an all expenses paid trip around the world.
But that’s not all folks. Just as I was thinking luck had finally shone my way, I was reminded of something else by a photography society member – my £30 cash back claim for my new camera. That’s right, Canon are offering £30 cash back on all cameras bought in the last couple of months. But hurry, all claims must be made before January 10 2009. I’d almost forgotten. I thanked the member for reminding me, and the very next day I filled in my form and posted it.
And I haven’t finished yet! Whilst searching in my camera box for proof of till receipt for my cash back claim, I came across a £50 voucher towards camera courses in 2009. What a brilliant idea! With hands practically shaking with excitement, I filled in the form and posted that too. For us much as I am loving my photography club, the appreciation of seeing the world beyond a camera lens and being transported to the vision behind the button, I do think I would also benefit from attending a structured course, where I can learn the technical side.
So you see, dearest readers, you must never give up hope. I am walking proof of this. I now have my 2009 calendar, with pictures. And a couple of other unexpected delights too.
I am a happy girl.

Monday, 15 December 2008

The fairy who has a dream

The fairy is proudly perched on top of the tree. She is smiling, pleased to be out of the pine chest and guarding the Christmas tree once again.
She looks down from her resting place and approves of the brightly coloured decorations. The checked star shaped garland, the ornate stockings and the delicately painted toy soldiers. She greets them like old friends, happy to be re-united with the familiar looking pieces of material.
Arr, what’s this, she has spied something new. It’s an angel. A pretty angel with golden hair and golden wings. She wonders if the angel is enjoying her new home, but she can’t help feeling relived and grateful that this angel has not replaced her. The fairy is glad that she still has the prime position, the top of the Christmas tree.
She looks at the presents beneath her. Red and gold colours gleaming, with bows and ribbons elaborately placed around the shiny wrapping paper. How lucky these people in the house are. Mystery parcels to gleefully open on Christmas Day, with carols playing in the background and the aroma of turkey wafting through from the kitchen.
The celebrations are always exciting to watch. She loves to hear the laughter and the chatter, and gaze at the contented faces.
The fairy is sad that the festive season does not last longer. She wishes it could be Christmas all year long. Or she never had to return to the pine chest again, so she could witness birthdays and summer months, things she has heard the family speak of, but she has never seen them with her own twinkling eyes.
Maybe she could try and ‘accidentally’ fall from the top of the tree? Perhaps she could then hide in the cupboard under the stairs, the one with all the tins of soup, and she could play with the teddy bears at night time, when the family are safely tucked up in bed. Hmmm. The fairy likes the sound of this. She has heard about all the teddy bears in the house, she has seen them briefly when she has been lifted from the pine chest. One of the teddies guards the pink chair in the lounge, and wears reading glasses and a long white, flowing dress. She thinks it would be nice to get to know her and ask her how life is on the pink chair.
She hopes that one day she can run around on the carpet and explore the house. What fun she would have. The fairy winks at the new angel, she imagines the angel would like to join her on her adventure.
For now she is just the fairy on top of the Christmas tree. The faithful fairy who watches over the house every December.
But she has plans and ideas of her own.
Because even fairies are allowed to dream.

The fairy who has a dream.


The Christmas tree.


The presents.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Eight calendars

The credit crunch, the impending recession, call it what you may, but it all boils down to the same thing – cutbacks.
I know times are tough and restrictions are being placed on spending, because normally I would have received eight calendars by now.
Eight glossy, decorative calendars, from various suppliers related to the office. Eight calendars with pictures of birds, boats and butterflies. “Oh another calendar,” I used to say, and sigh, before asking if I could tempt anyone in the office with my latest offering.
This year I have received the grand total of 0 calendars. How the mighty have fallen!
Another clue to these dark times is the announcement that our annual awards evening has been cancelled. Every year a gigantic marquee is erected and decorated for all the UK employees who are employed at my company. Circus acts, a casino, dancers, and a celebrity guest are amongst the lavish entertainment, and that’s without the cost of food and drink.
As a sign of the times, the chairman thought it would be sensitive and sensible to not hold such a flashy and expensive event next January. I’m not complaining, it’s saved me from forking out the money for a new and suitable outfit. I would also rather the total bill was spent on our wages, and not a celebrity guest fee and a big fat champagne fuelled headache.
As much as I love a glass of bubbly, I do realise in the current economical situation you have to make certain cutbacks. And I would rather be employed than out of work with nothing to show for my hard work, other than an outfit I will never wear again and a photograph of me looking flushed, standing next to the latest over-paid star guest.
However, I would appreciate a calendar arriving on my desk before 2009 commences. It doesn’t have to be glamorous, it doesn’t have to be printed on a heavy paper stock with a sparkling gold, five colour, printing process - you don’t work in publishing for 17 years without learning a thing or two regarding print. A simple calendar would be fine. Mono, A4, flimsy paper. Something I can tape to my hard drive and stare at continuously, to remind me of press dates, mailing dates and dates with friends. Pretty pictures would be nice, but I understand the costs and hassle involved, a plain one will serve the same purpose.
Has anyone in blog land received an excessive amount of calendars and care to share their 2009 months with me? No? Are you sure? Oh well, it was worth asking. It looks like I will be turning to the Internet to assist me. Again.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

3,001 office Christmas parties

It feels as if I have been to 3,001 office Christmas parties. In reality it’s not nearly as many as that, but the theme is always the same – I always loose something.
This time the lost item was my right contact lens. Today I can only see out of my left eye. It’s rather an unbalanced feeling, but I figured it’s best to see out of one eye than not at all. Unfortunately they were my last pair, and my glasses are sitting beside my bed at home (a fat lot of good they are at home, I hear you say) and I haven’t been home yet.
Last night I stayed the night at my work colleague and friends house, after the Christmas party. It took us a very long time to reach her house as we managed to walk to the wrong train station, board the wrong train and journey in the wrong direction. We realised our errors after we stopped singing, and then we realised we’d missed the last train home. So it was an expensive black cab for us. That will teach us for being so careless. And for singing when we should have been concentrating.
Oh and my work colleague and friend forgot to collect her coat at the end of the night. Not quite as silly as it sounds, she was wearing my coat, therefore she did not feel the cold, otherwise she would have remembered that she had forgotten it. I had two coats with me, as I really feel the cold and tend to wear far too many layers in the winter. Luckily for her, the venue still has her coat.
I’m just glad I sensibly left my new and heavy camera at home, thus making it impossible to absent mindlessly leave it on a window sill/table/chair/dance floor. A right contact lens I can cope with loosing, but not my precious camera.
Alas, there are no pictures from the office Christmas party. You’ll have to use your imagination and imagine the breaded goats cheese, turkey with vegetables and potatoes, raspberry cheesecake, and many wine bottles. And the packed dance floor. And me dancing to George Michael in a very animated fashion. That was before the forgotten coat, the missed (correct) last train home and a lost contact lens.
All in all, a typical office Christmas party.

Friday, 5 December 2008

The night I met a blogger

I awoke to the sound of police sirens. Or maybe it was my alarm clock? Yes it was my alarm clock. Forgive me for confusing the sounds, but they’re two very similar noises.
I’ve managed to break two mobile phone handsets this year (if anyone can do it, I can) and my recently loaned handset, from a dear and kind friend, contains an alarm clock which rather resembles the commotion of a police raid in my bedroom. I’m always relived when I realise it’s not a police raid, merely my alarm announcing it’s time to get out of bed.
I got out of bed and pulled my curtains so I could see the outside world and the weather conditions. I smiled when I realised it was not snowing or raining, just cold and grey. At least the UK weather wasn’t too unfriendly for the arrival of my fellow blogger from Singapore. For the day had arrived, it was Blur's visit to the UK and we had arranged to meet in London for food and drink and chats.
After my cinnamon and marmite bagel with coffee (they’re a hard habit to break) at my desk in the office, I called the restaurant to confirm my booking for the evening. All booked and confirmed! I then printed out directions to the restaurant and to Blur's hotel. I even saved the restaurant's telephone number in my mobile handset (the handset with the police sirens for an alarm clock) just in case I got lost. I always worry about loosing my way, this has happened quite frequently. I checked I had not accidentally deleted Blur's mobile number, which I would need in case I got lost finding her hotel, and to welcome her with a text message when she landed in the UK. So far so good. It was then time to do some work.
At five thirty on the dot I raced out the office and my journey to Paddington commenced. I surprised myself by finding the restaurant and the hotel straight away.
And there was Blur, all smiles, in real life, not a photograph on a blog! We greeted each other like old friends and made our way to the restaurant.
It was an authentic Middle Eastern/Lebanese restaurant with rose petals on the tables, and cushions, lanterns and wood carvings everywhere you looked. We sat down at our table and grinned at each other. It felt good to be sitting opposite someone I have spent many, many lunchtimes and evenings reading about her life and replying to comments regarding my life. Even though we had never met before it was as if I’d known her for years, and I immediately relaxed and was looking forward to our evening ahead.
The menu was mind boggling, so much choice, so much food! We ordered, wait for it:

Halloum mekleh. (Pan fried cheese with chili spiced jam.)
Samboussek jibneh. (Awaki & feta cheese with parsley.)
Falafel. (Chickpea & broad beans. Tahini & garlic yoghurt sauce.)
Soujoc. (Homemade spicy sausages with cherry tomatoes and parsley.)
Jawaneh. (Chargrilled chicken wings marinated with lemon juice, garlic & coriander.)
Machaweh. (Mix of kafta. Lahem meshoue, taouk & marinated cutlets.)
And warm breads, marinated olives and salads.
Plus a bottle of Lebanese wine.

You were discussed dear readers, in between sampling food and sipping wine. All bloggers were mentioned and our mutual love for blogging. We both agreed how ones personality develops through ones writing and how honest and sincere bloggers can be about themselves and their lives. Apparently I am exactly as Blur expected me to be! Yep, my writing is rather like myself, nothing fancy, just little old me rambling on about my interpretation of life and anything else that pops into my head.
We then danced around the tables, with the belly dancer.
It was a real pleasure to meet the writer behind ‘The day flew by so fast it was a blur’. We chatted and laughed like two old friends, already knowing so much about each other through our blogs and our writing and our photographs. It was a shame the evening had to end, but I would like to thank blog world for bringing such a warm, sincere and lovely person into my life.
And thanks for the chocolates Blur!

Pictures of the day:

Blur.


Our table.


The food.


Dancing.


More dancing.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Family traits and that coffee table

"I keep hearing George Michael songs in my head, and the other day he was singing on my coffee table!"
I know the feeling. Apart from the coffee table bit, I can honestly say George has never sang on my coffee table. Not that I would mind if he wanted to. I would even go as far as to say, I would love it if he sang on my coffee table! However, I don't think my mother would be too pleased about it, seeing as it's her house and her possessions. Oh hang on a minute, what am I saying, we don't even possess a coffee table. Perhaps he could sing on the kitchen table instead?
Perhaps not. My mother is likely to go bananas if she walks into the kitchen and witnesses George singing Fast Love, with his size 10's on her checked table cloth. I can picture the scene. "Do you mind!" she would say. "You may be a superstar, but that cloth has just been washed and we have to eat our dinner on that table! How would you like it if I came to your house and stood on your table?" I would plead with my mother to let him finish the song, and suggest he takes his shoes off and sings the remainder of his lines in his socks. Forever the peace maker, that's me.
You may be scratching your head, with a puzzled look on your face, and wondering what all this coffee table talk is about.
Well, dear readers, it's about Eli Stone, my cousins and I. Have you seen Eli Stone? He's a lawyer with an inoperable brain aneurysm. He grew up listening to George songs, and at the worst possible moments he hears George's voice and he can't resist singing and dancing along. When my cousin Sarah heard about Eli Stone - he is not a real person, by the way, merely a fictional character created for our amusement - she knew that myself and my other cousin Paul would appreciate the television show, and so she's recorded the episodes for us to watch. Yep, the George addiction runs in the family.
Tuesday night was our second Eli Stone evening. Lasagna, wine and chocolate at my cousin Sarah's house. Every time we heard a GM lyric we practically jumped out of our seats, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. So far he has only sang on the coffee table but we have our third Eli night next week and we are waiting with baited breath to see him again. Apparently there is a shower scene and George talks to Eli - IN PERSON! I can barely contain myself. Of course it will be lovely to see my cousins again. It's not all about George!
They say you can't choose your family, but in this case, I would definitely choose my cousins. I love them both dearly and I have many happy memories of them from childhood to adulthood. Family picnics and barbeque's, summer fairs in my nans garden, playing with our Sindy dolls (not my male cousin, I hasten to add), and pretending their house was an underwater world (yep, we extended our imaginations to the fullest). We've holidayed together in Majorca in our teens, where the dress code in one particular bar was 'white clothes only'. It was the weirdest sight ever, I can honestly say it looked as if we'd entered a house for mad people. I've also experienced the honour of bridesmaid duties for Sarah and I'm now thoroughly enjoying watching her kiddies grow.
So you see, even if my cousins hated George with a passion, I would still choose them to be my cousins. But between you and I, I'm mighty glad they don't hate him with a passion. It kind of helps that we're on the same wavelength and it's nice to share my George dottiness with them. Not everybody understands it, but I'm happy to say my cousins definitely do.
Roll on next Thursday.

Picture of the day:

The floral arrangement.

Monday, 1 December 2008

The enormous stopwatch in the sky

Can you believe it’s the 1st of December already?
I’m starting to suspect something. I think the older you become, the faster time is passing you by. I’m beginning to imagine someone is looking down upon me, dangling an enormous stopwatch, and every year this someone is speeding time along, with the aid of this enormous stopwatch.
Can you remember when you were young and carefree and a whole year seemed to last forever? Those were the days when life was one huge playground. The days when I had nothing to worry about except how many sweets I could buy in the corner shop, and how many times I could whiz around the park on my roller skates before the sky turned dark and I had to head home for my dinner.
Life is simple when you are young. You don’t have bills to pay and deadlines to meet, life and love are not wearing you down and stressing you out. Your parents take care of everything. All you have to do is play with your toys, and go to school and learn.
Okay, senior school wasn't as simple. I realised at senior school that not all teachers, and not all pupils come to think of it, were very nice. And maths had turned into algebra and geometry. Arrgg! Who said maths had to be so complicated? But I behaved myself around the not-so-nice teachers, avoided the ‘wrong crowd’ and tried to bribe my dad into completing my maths homework. And still the days, weeks, months, years would tick by slowly. It would seem ages from one December to the next.
Because December means Christmas! I used to think Christmas was the most magical and special time ever. I would be so excited on Christmas Eve that I literally couldn’t sleep. This was a great source of worry - if I wasn’t asleep, Father Christmas wouldn’t leave me any presents! That was my biggest fear during the festive period. How tightly I would close my eyes and will myself to fall asleep, imaging the big man in the red and white suite entering my bedroom and saying, “Sorry little girl, you know the rules. If you’re not sleeping, I’m not leaving any presents!”
As the years passed, my doubts escalated towards this Father Christmas lark, and I began to suspect something wasn't quite right. (Rather like my suspicions over this time thing now.) How could one man visit every single house in the whole wide world, in one single night? And if he was as big as his pictures lead us to believe, how could he possibly fit down all those chimneys? Especially after feasting on mince pies etc, which the children had thoughtfully left out for him. Surely his belly would become stuck half-way? And could reindeers really fly? It didn’t add up. I hated to admit it, but my parents were looking more and more likely to be the reason behind the presents which were left at the end of my bed. Especially as one year I noticed the wrapping paper was the same as the roll propped up against the kitchen table. “Look mum,” I said. “It’s the same wrapping paper as over there!” “Gosh,” my mum replied. “Father Christmas must use the same wrapping paper as me!” See how astute my younger self was?!
I still love Christmas. A time to be with your loved ones, reflect on the real reason behind the season of good-will, not the commercial present side. You reach a certain age and you realise it’s not all about presents. Well I did. But it seems to come along way too fast these days. What with bills to pay and deadlines to meet and life and love to worry about, December is soon upon my older self faster that you can, “Jumping Jack Flash!”
Which is why I’ve tried to be organised this year. Too many years I’ve been caught out and dashed around the shops on Christmas Eve, desperately searching for inspiration. I have even prised myself out of bed on Christmas Day to wrap presents. Shameful. Just thinking about leaving things to the last minute, as I have done many a time, stresses me out and makes me feel queasy.
Therefore, this year, I am pleased to report, it’s the 1st of December and I have made all my Christmas cards, ready to circulate to family and friends. And every present I have bought, I've wrapped and placed in a big box underneath my bed. Which allows me plenty of time to help with the food and decorating, and to enjoy myself in the merry month of December. This sounds a good deal to me.
Although I can't help wondering how long this deal and organised state of mind will last? Probably not very long. I’ll probably leave something very important until the last possible moment. And then I’m bound to blame that enormous stopwatch in the sky for unfairly speeding time along.
"Hey," I'll say. "Whoever you are, can’t you put that stopwatch away?!"

Picture of the day:

Christmas cards.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Time for a walk

It has been a chilly and grey day in the UK. Despite the weather, I wrapped up warm in my black and white winter coat, my thermal socks and leather gloves, with jeans and a cosy jumper, and I went for a walk. Oh and I took my new camera. Of course.

The leaves have fallen to the ground and the bare trees are standing proud in my local park.


This is the windmill land mark opposite the park. It is considered to be one of the finest examples of a “Smock” windmill remaining in England. It was built in 1803 by James Noakes, a local farmer. Now it is open to the public on certain days, to look around and learn the history of.




The church I was christened in 35 years ago.






In loving memory of those who lost their lives in the first and second world war.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The elf, the hammer and the camera

I have a confession to make. Try not to be too alarmed dear readers, I haven’t ran along the streets of London dressed as an elf and declaring, “It’s 29 days until Christmas!” (Even though it is 29 days until Christmas!) And don’t worry, I haven’t buckled under the pressure of magazine press dates and casually strolled into the office carrying a hammer and proceeded to smash my Apple Mac and desk into tiny little pieces. Nope, I haven’t attempted to do either of these actions. I wouldn’t even contemplate smashing my Mac and desk. Think of the mess it would make and the trouble I would land myself in. Oh, and my elf costume is at the dry cleaners, ha, ha!
But I have splashed out and treated myself to something quite expensive and very rewarding. And I can’t help feeling a smidgen of guilt at doing so.
In my past life, five years ago, when banks were dishing out loans left, right and centre, before the black cloud of recession loomed over our heads, my bank transferred a loan into my account. It was for a substantial amount of money towards decorating and furnishing my home at the time, and for one particular day in my life. Finally, five long years later, I have finished paying for the loan. What a relief that is. Particularly as I no longer live in that home and my past life didn’t quite go according to plan.
Here’s where the guilt part comes in. Despite the fact there are 29 days until Christmas and practically everyone I know celebrates their birthday in December - in my defence I have bought most of my Christmas and December birthday presents - I have bought myself something. My sensible side knew that I should be spending the money on the remainder of pressies, but my selfish side bought myself a new camera!
I read camera reviews on the internet and asked for camera advice in electrical shops, and with my new knowledge and my extra cash, I bought a Canon E0S 1000D. I can’t stop looking at it and smiling. I have an enormous instruction manual to wade through, but I’ve kind of got the hang of it. So guess what I’ve been doing recently? I have been taking photographs of absolutely everything and smiling a lot.
Beside, there’s another pay day until Christmas and a full 29 days of shopping for other people. And it could be worse - I could have walked into the office, dressed as an elf, with that hammer and a naughty glint in my eye! Now that would have been a confession and a half.

Pictures of the day:

I took my new camera to my friends house at the weekend. I love her decor, she has some amazing wood carvings from her travels. Naturally I took pictures. And we looked at old pictures of us together.
Do you like her hand chair?


The laughing Buddha.


Remember the old days, when one would print out photographs instead of displaying them on computers?! That's me in Tenerife by the way. Click on it to enlarge and look how young and thin I was!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Lucky star

Do you think that some people are born under a lucky star? Perhaps at the precise time they entered this world, Saturn was in the eleventh house and all the lucky stars and planets were facing the right way. Therefore, wisdom, good health and good fortune would be their destiny. As you can probably tell, I am not an expert when it comes to astrology and I have completely invented this theory and birth chart.
Or do you think luck is not something you were born with, it has nothing to do with the stars and the planets, but everything to do with you as a person and your outlook and attitude towards life?
I was thinking about and referring to this luck thing on Monday night. It was competition night at the photography club. My club and neighbouring clubs were competing for a trophy, judged by a professional photographer. Check out his website here! http://www.russelllindsay.co.uk/index.html?_ret_=return
He was actually standing in my local hall with his wise words and expertise, and his scarlet haired wife. Impressed? I was.
Anyway, Monday night I heard myself saying, “I’m not lucky, I never win anything,” as I departed with my shiny gold pound coin, in exchange for a strip of raffle tickets. Competition night also means raffle night, and as I shoved my tickets in my black leather purse, I couldn’t help lusting after the champagne bottle and the box of chocolates.
It’s true though, I never win anything. And it’s not without trying. Twice a week, every week - for a few years now - I use the same faithful numbers for the national lottery. You would think, according to the law of averages, my numbers would have appeared on those balls a few times by now. Three of my numbers have appeared ONCE. I won £10. I owed my father £10 so I passed my winnings straight over to him. It wasn’t my finest hour. Hardly the win of the century, was it. Another time, for about ten months, I entered every competition I came across. This was when I was buying far too many magazines each week. Trips to Florida, sports cars, health spa breaks, concert tickets, gigantic plasma screens, a make-over, shopping sprees, nail varnish kit. You name it, I tried to win it. I won a big fat nothing. Not even a nail varnish kit.
But hey, I know luck is not all about winning competitions. It’s just that I've never thought of myself as someone whose life seems to flow easily and everything fits into place snugly. I look at various individuals and I think, ”How come you’ve breezed through life with no complications? You’ve met the right man, produced healthy children, live in a nicely decorated house of your own, you're financially comfortable, and life has bared no unpleasant surprises.”
Don’t let me mislead you, I’m not trying to give you a sob story and play the sympathy card by saying I’ve led a tragic life. Because I haven’t. Oh I’ve had my ups and downs, as I know a lot of people have. My keen and eager heart has been trampled on and broken in a few places. I have one failed marriage to add to my list of disasters and as a consequence, love has left a bitter taste in my mouth and forever is a word I am very suspicious about.
I lost a precious and dear sibling when I was seventeen years old, which ripped my family apart. The gaping hole of loss is something which will never mend. You can stick a plaster over it, but the wound will always be there. Whether it bleeds profusely one day or it’s an uncomfortable itch the next, anyone who has ever lost someone will know the pain never fully disappears. Especially when the loved one was too young and they were stolen from you in cruel and abrupt circumstances.
But having said all of this, I do realise that I am blessed with many things in my life and compared to others in this world, my life is a garden of paradise.
Which brings me back to my opening question regarding luck. And I think I may have answered my own question. When I think about all the people in this life who I love and who love me back, the wonderful people who I share my life with, all the things I am grateful for, the things which make me smile and feel happy inside, I feel the luckiest girl alive.
And guess what? I won the raffle Monday night. Yes, that’s right, I actually won something! Unfortunately other club members beat me to the champagne and the box of chocolates, I was left with Richard Branson's autobiography. Still, it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, or so they say. Especially after complaining that I never win anything.
So, perhaps it’s not all about those lucky stars. You just have to count your blessings, remember the good things in your life, and everything else will be okay.

Picture of the day:

Flowers in autumn.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Flying Pink Hearts

They’re not really flying. Have you ever seen a flying pink heart? The day you see a flying pink heart could be the day you see a flying pink elephant! And if that day ever happens, well I would question what you had put into your tea or I would strongly suggest you need a little break. Strange tea bags and a stressful life can do funny things to your brain.
Although, I suppose you could say the pink hearts are flying through the atmosphere in cyber space. Flying from one bloggers home to another bloggers home. Pretty pink hearts made from pretty pink flowers. Hearts full of good wishes and positive thoughts.
I am talking about the latest tag from http://worldofdidi.blogspot.com/

Sorry it’s taken me a while, but thank you for sending this to me.
Apparently, if I play by the rules, I need to pass this onto 5 bloggers.

Cut and paste the following starting here.

I have randomly selected 5 of you below to be tagged and I hope that you will similarly publish this post in your blog. You will have to tag 5 other bloggers and just keep adding on to the list. (Do not replace, just keep on adding! Yes we hope it will be a long list!)

It’s real easy! Tag others and see your Technorati Authority increase exponentially! The benefits of Viral Linking:

- One of the fastest ways to see your technorati authority explode!- Increase your Google PageRank fast

- Attract large volume of new traffic to your site- Build your community

- Make new friends!

The Strategist Notebook, Link Addiction, Ardour of the Heart, When Life Becomes a Book, The Malaysian Life, Yogatta.com, What goes under the sun,Roshidan’s Cyber Station, Sasha says, Arts of Physics, And the legend lives, My View, My Life, A Simple Life, Juliana RW, The Callalily Space, Petra Summer in Blue, Confessions of an Army Wife Bless’ Sanctuary Happy Life, http://bless519.bravejournal.com/, La Place de Cherie, Chez Francine, Le bric a brac de Cherie, Little Peanut, Pea in a Pod, The Creative In Me, Me and Mine, Pinay Mommy, Expressions from the Heart, TeacherJulie, Sweetbites by Bang, Paul, Toni and Lance - Bridging the Distance, Our Growing Family, The Uncensored life of me, My Untamed World, Something Purple, A Detour, Something Purple, Wifespeaks, Changing Lanes, Bits and Pieces, My Chocolate Coated Glasses, God's Gift, Through the Rain, My Small World,My Life, My Hope, My Future,Nyumix's Blog , The Lings, Life Quest

http://eveningofscore.blogspot.com/ - This is the ideal link for me to recommend this brilliant story blog.

http://blurting.blogspot.com/ - Yippee, we’re going to meet in real life soon!

http://jyankee.wordpress.com/ - I love to read about your life in Japan and I always appreciate you checking in on me and leaving comments.

http://ailema4ever.blogspot.com/
- It’s a pleasure to read your blog and your outlook on life. And I can see pictures of reindeer's!

http://seagrapejelly.blogspot.com/ - You deserve a heart for the love you have for your kiddies and your brilliant pictures. And for reinventing yourself!

Hey, rules are made to be broken!

Can I also pass it on to:

http://www.kryblings.com/

http://ladelirante.blogspot.com/

http://thekitchenbitchponders.blogspot.com/

http://pettypieces.blogspot.com/

http://katediggins.blogspot.com/

http://luxuriouschoices.blogspot.com/

http://nickphil67.blogspot.com/ - I know it’s quite girly but have a pink heart from me to you and your family.


Monday, 17 November 2008

Three letters

What a difference three letters can make. Three innocent letters. Three innocent letters can totally transform one word. They can also completely transform an area and an evening. See how powerful three innocent letters can be?
The night before my friends wedding I did something very stupid. I was so mortified with my own stupidity that I couldn’t even bring myself to write about it. Until now. Now I can actually laugh at my careless action and the ridiculous situation I found myself in. Believe me, I did not find it remotely funny at the time.
I’ll start at the beginning. The night before my friends wedding I left the office in a rush. I vacated the building later than planned, due to an unexpected telephone call. Therefore I was in a rush to board my train for the dinner date at my friend Caron’s house. She was cooking curried cottage pie for myself and our mutual friend Claire, and I was scheduled to arrive at 7pm.
My taste buds were already working over-time, imagining the delightful cottage pie, and I was hurrying myself along, looking forward to catching up with my dear friends. In my haste, I failed to see three innocent letters at the end of one word. Three letters which caused a great amount of stress and panic amongst my friends and I.
Fantasising about the cottage pie and slightly worried about the time, I glanced at the board at the train station. I sighed in relief when I noted the next train to my friends town would be leaving in two minutes, from platform 15. I practically ran to platform 15, so as not to miss the train. Jumping through the train doors I spied a window seat and sat down with my newspaper. Phew, I thought to myself, it looks like I won't be so late after all. Ha, if I only knew then what I know now.
Remembering there would be a few stops until my journey ended, I opened my newspaper to see what was occurring in the outside world. Politics, tragedies and celebrities. I read the newspaper, happily absorbing myself in the outside world. After a while I looked out of the window to see which station we were at, thinking that I should be at my friends town very soon.
My heart skipped a beat when I read the name of the station the train was departing from. Anxiety started to rise in my anxious body. Where the heck was I? I had never heard of that station. That station was not on the way to Caron's house. I looked around for a friendly face, already dreading the answer to my question.
I asked a man where the train was heading, and if it was the correct train to my friends home town.
It wasn’t.
I was literally miles and miles away from where I was supposed to be.
The man laughed as I gasped in horror, and I realised I had failed to see the letters H – A – M at the end of the crucial word, on the board, at the train station.
Three letters, that’s all they were. They were not hiding from me, they were not trying to trick me, but for an unknown reason my eyes had not registered them. I gasped again when reality hit me and my brain worked out how long it would take to rectify my journey. And to top things off, the battery on my mobile telephone was wickedly beeping at me.
Panicking, I found Caron's telephone number in my mobile contact book, and I managed to call the number and yell, “I’ve got on the wrong train!” before my battery hopelessly died.
I could feel my cheeks burn an angry and embarrassed shade of red as I realised how careless I had been. I didn’t know whether I should laugh or cry. Or both. My stomach rumbled in sympathy when I thought about the curried cottage pie patiently waiting for me. My body shivered as I disembarked at the next station. I pulled my cardigan around me for comfort, cursing myself for not wearing a sensible coat. I was hungry, cold and mighty peed off.
Three hours it took me to correct my journey. Three long, lonely, cold, hungry, frustrating hours. And all because of three small letters.
Three hours late, at 10pm, I rang my friends doorbell, nearly weeping in relief at finally arriving at my destination. My friend flung open her front door and hugged me tightly.
“Thank God you’re here! I've been so worried about you. Where on earth did you go?”
“Three letters!” was all I could say, as I walked, traumatised, through my friends front door.
I could no longer prevent the evil and sadistic thoughts that flashed through my tired mind, directed at the three letters. Three letters H - A - M which completely changed a word, a journey and an evening. I despised them. And I thought it was only fair that they accepted their share of responsibility for sabotaging my Friday night.

Picture of the day:

Three flowers.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Recharging my batteries

Staying in. It's the new going out. As much as I love to dine out or dine at friends, visit places I have never been to before and generally have a good time, sometimes I crave an evening at home. It's not that I'm dull or anti-sociable, far from it at times, but it's nice to recharge your batteries and relax. Wouldn't you agree?
Tonight I've got it all worked out. I have a plate of my favourite 'staying in' food waiting for me - quiches, cheeses, pates, crusty bread and salad. I have my new Stephen King book to absorb myself in, and entertainment on the television including Come Dancing and The X Factor. Both programmes are enormous hits in the UK and you can guarantee the dancing and the singing will be discussed next week, in the office and with friends.
I'm also itching to put my black and white spotty pyjamas on, after indulging in a huge vanilla essence bubble bath. Bliss. There is no way in this world I would swap places with anyone else tonight.
Staying in. Who needs to go out in the cold and dark when I have the green armchair, my favourite food, singing and dancing, Stephen King and a bubble bath.
Besides, I've had an enjoyable day at the photography exhibition in my local theatre. My photography club are displaying but I didn't print any of mine out as I still don't think I'm up to their standard. And I went to my cousins house. It was her youngest sons first birthday. There were plenty of presents and smiles.

Pictures of the day:

The exhibition.


Playing.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Look who's moaning

I didn’t realise how much I moaned about work until I went out for lunch and moaned about work.
We’ve had a mini crisis in the office. Another one. This time it involves a major printing error in our monthly magazine. An error which has been sent to and spotted by one of our most important and influential clients. This mini crisis has fallen amongst trying to produce two newspapers for a conference in Cape Town, and slap bang in the middle of an office move.
The sales representative and the client service manager, from our printing company, were summoned to the office for an emergency meeting. An emergency meeting in the boardroom with myself, my not-so-new boss and the publisher. Apologies were made, reports are to be issued and confidence is something the printers are trying to reinstate.
After the seriousness of the matter was discussed and promises for a brighter future were made, we set off to an Italian restaurant for lunch. Bread, olives, wine and pasta were ordered and we all began to relax. I passed on the olives, personally I think olives are disgusting. To me olives are on a par with prawns. I can not bear them. But that’s just my humble olive and prawn hating opinion.
Olives dismissed, it was not long until we were all laughing heartily into our pasta dishes, earlier boardroom tenseness had clearly evaporated. The majority of laughing was targeted at my not-so-new boss and I’s interpretation of life in the office. Oh how we moaned.
It can be the small things sometimes, such as delayed and overcrowded trains, with elbows in your face, on the way to the office. “I only have to look at Jo in the morning and she knows exactly what kind of journey I’ve experienced,” said I. “Oh yes,” said Jo. “Sometimes Nikki has steam coming out of her ears and I know it’s been one of those journeys.”
The mystery of the window was then discussed. “And who keeps opening my window every morning? It’s freezing cold and my paper work is flapping around and I don’t understand who keeps insisting on doing this!?”
We all tutted and agreed mid-November is far too cold to open windows, especially when there is air conditioning blasting cool air out just above our chilly heads.
The bread basket was passed around and my boss moved onto network problems, network problems when we are trying to log-in to our Macs. “There are only 4 Mac users in the building, two of them are Nikki and I, and whenever our machines fail to work and we explain we are Mac users, an IT man will come up and shake his head and claim that he didn’t know we were Mackers! But I typed it in the report and they should know this!" Next it was my turn to moan. “Don't talk to me about those reports! They're far too long winded and time consuming. You have to log a problem report, then a received report is sent to say it has been logged, then you wait. And wait. You chase the logged report and the received report to ask how much longer you have to wait until your problem is fixed. Then you wait for a reply and another report. I just call the nice man in IT and ask him to help me.”
“How the heck do you manage to get straight through to the IT desk? You must charm the IT guy, he ignores my telephone calls.” My not-so-new boss was outraged.
Wine glasses were re-filled and this was the perfect link to complain about the high volume used during telephone calls from the sales guys. Some days you can not hear yourself think above the racket.
“Thank goodness we are moving to the other side of the office,” I managed to say in between mouthfuls of pasta smothered in a tomato sauce, aubergines and peppers. “The quieter side of the office where I wont be bashing into people and listening to the early bird package, and I can concentrate on my own work.”
All hell had let loose. We were on a roll as the sales rep and client services manager laughed at our predicaments. And we hadn’t finished. We were in uproar regarding the mess other colleagues leave in the kitchen. "Come on, you wouldn’t leave your own kitchen in such a disgrace. Coffee and milk are spilt on the work tops and left for the cleaner to mop up. And although I appreciate the cleaner tackling the washing up, I'm sure she must attempt it with her eyes closed. I would rather do it myself if it meant I didn't have to look at dried cereal pieces and jammy finger prints left on bowls and glasses!"
Clients lack of respect for deadlines and specifications were our next culprits. Our listeners sympathised. It’s a well known fact that publishing houses are always pushing for new print dates and do not always provide the correct formats to printing companies. Not us, I hasten to add!
“It’s so frustrating,” my boss and I both stated. “We couldn’t be any clearer with our specification sheet and instructions. Do you think anyone actually bothers to read them? Why do we bother even sending them?”
Cue for more tutting and laughing regarding annoying dilemmas in the working environment.
“Anyway,” said my not-so- new boss, finishing the last drop of white wine. “Is that the time? We really should be heading back to the office.”
Our contacts at the printers agreed we had been very insightful, and amusing, as the bill was paid and coats were placed on our backs, ready for us to embrace the frosty mid-November temperature.
“Sorry,” I said. “Have we been moaning?”

Picture of the day:

The Christmas lights outside the office.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Girl's night out

It has become a tradition amongst my circle of friends to go a little bit crazy on my birthday.
A few weeks in advance an email is circulated, a night is booked, a new venue is chosen, a private area reserved and bar food ordered. Then the count down begins.
Basically, it’s the perfect excuse for us all to get together and let our hairs down. Not that we really need an excuse but we all lead such busy lives these days that it can be tricky to pin point a night out. Therefore, I always try on my birthday night out to see as many of my friends as possible.
This year was no exception. Emails flew backwards and forwards, my friends from far away planned their journeys to London, and a suitable apartment was found for certain individuals to stay in at the end of the night. Usually new outfits are bought too, although this year I managed to recycle an outfit (finances are tighter these days) but the usual, "What are you wearing?" conversations were held and body parts and clothing analysed.
And so, last Friday night at 6pm the fun began. The Wax Bar was this years destination. Retro decor, pop music and plenty of bottles of wine. Friends walked through the doors, squeals of delight could be heard and for six solid hours we did not stop talking and laughing. I think we danced too. Oh and I insisted that my friend Sarah participated in swimming lessons. Don’t ask. There is usually a story or two to tell after our night out. Usually we are texting, telephoning and emailing for days after the event, reminiscing our behaviour and roaring with laughter every time we are reminded of various actions.
However, last Friday night after six hours the evening did not end for three of us. Oh no, three of us trailed through London in a black cab to an apartment in the Docklands area. The three of us who live in different corners of the country and who did not want the night to end in the Wax Bar. Petrol garage food was greedily eaten in the apartment lounge and our lives were discussed in great detail. We never run out of things to say. Although after a few hours even we had to admit defeat and retire to our bedrooms, yawning and muttering, “Look at the time, we’ve done it again!”
We looked a sight for sore eyes the next day. It was worth it though, and as my friend Caron's email began this morning, "Oh what fun we had!” It then finished with the words, “Thank goodness it’s at least 358 days until we do it all again.”
Yep, we are all still recovering from the girl's night out. Maybe it is just as well that birthdays only come along once a year.

Pictures of the day:

Girl's night out.






Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Dolly daydream visits the sea-side

It’s official. It’s official because it has been confirmed by Psychic Sarah, who lives on the pier in the Essex sea-side town of Frinton. She has confirmed by using her psychic powers and by reading my aura, that I am a daydreamer.
I visited Frinton, with friend, at the weekend. With our walking boots on we explored the coast line and admired the view, the sea breeze gently caressing our skin.
“I love those beach huts!” said I, immediately picturing myself owning one and wearing over-sized sun glasses and a pretty floral dress, perched on the decking and gazing out at the waves crashing onto the delicate sand. With book in hand and flip flops on my feet, I would make my way down the steps and onto the beach, breathing in the salty sea air and tilting my head towards the sky so my pale skin could feel the benefit of the suns rays, radiating warmth and happiness onto my face.
Or perhaps I could visit the beach hut with friends. Red and green checked picnic blanket in one hand and white wicker picnic basket in the other, I would run with friends, giggling, onto the beach, flopping down into the sand, ready to eat and drink and soak up the sunshine and the laughter.
So it was no surprise when I stopped at the pier on Sunday, with friend, and by reading my aura Psychic Sarah informed me that I am usually disconnected from the outside world and spend much of my time daydreaming. My friend sniggered when I read my reading. “Yep, that’s me,” said I. “Dolly daydream. Come on, let’s buy a bag of chips on the sea front so I can daydream some more.”

Pictures of the day:

Scenes from Frinton.












Monday, 3 November 2008

The hairdresser and the musician

My dad fell in love with the girl next door. The girl next door who would one day become my mum.
I never tire of hearing how they first met, and I often drive past the hairdressers my mother worked in and the street they used to live in and I picture them, many years ago, when I was merely a twinkle in their eye.
My father was working on cruise ships as a musician when he met my mother. At the time he was based in the UK, awaiting another trip travelling the seas and playing his saxophone. They dated and set a wedding date, and my father sold his brand new sports car for a deposit on their first home together. He then searched for a 9 to 5 ‘sensible’ job so he wouldn’t be travelling the world and be absent for long periods of time. That’s love for you. And 2 years later, on their wedding anniversary, along came me.
I never tire of hearing stories of their childhood either, before fate and geography brought them together. “It wasn’t like this when we were young,” I frequently here them say. My mum often tells me how she would spend the night dancing in the building which is now a bingo hall and walk home, on her own, clutching her shoes as her feet would be sore and aching from all that spinning around. “There wasn’t the high crime rate then, a girl would feel perfectly safe walking home on her own.” I’m also constantly reminded that there was no television, telephone or computer in my parents family homes. In fact, when I was born the telephone was still a rare thing in many households and my parents had to send a telegram to most of their friends, to inform them of my arrival. Can you imagine not being able to communicate by telephone?! I never leave the house without my mobile, and I take it for granted that everyone I know owns a mobile and I can call them or text them and almost immediately be in contact with them.
My fathers childhood was very different from mine, and very different from my mothers. There is a fourteen year age difference between my parents, and my father lived through the second world war, where he was evacuated out of London and into the country side. To be separated from your parents, and your home, at such a young age is something I can not imagine either. My dad often refers to money as shillings and reminds me how food was rationed during the war. If I was to travel back in time and explain to a shop keeper the price of food these days, they would probably fall off their chair in astonishment, that’s if they were sitting down, if they were standing they may have fainted from the shock. Can you imagine trying to explain blogging to a shop keeper during the second world war?! They would probably think I was barmy and to communicate with people from all over the world at the touch of a button was unthinkable. Rather like man walking on the moon!
I can’t help wondering how different things will be for my children - fingers and arms crossed that I will have my own family one day. Technology is progressing constantly. Will we have cars that fly? Dinners that cook themselves? Who knows hey! Nothing would surprise me though.
In the mean time, I’m grateful for the progress and I'm grateful that technology allows me to blog. I’m also grateful for the three course meal I shared with my parents last week, on my 35th birthday, which was also my parents 37th wedding anniversary.
I think they deserve a medal for sticking together for 37 years. An enormous gold one, with the following words engraved: 'It must be love.' Why else would you do it?!

Pictures of the day:

Present time.


The anniversary/birthday restaurant.


Strawberry Meringue.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Tag time

I’ve been tagged by: http://pettypieces.blogspot.com/ and on this occasion the tagging involves telling you six things about myself. So, prepare yourself for a few self-indulgent me facts!

I believe in reincarnation and I think it’s probably likely that I drowned in a past life. The reason behind this thought process is my irrational fear of water covering my face. Of course I wash my face and I am not against water touching my face, but what I do protest against is having zilch control of water spurting out onto my face, or submerging my face into deep water.
I am a little embarrassed to admit this (hey, we're all friends in blog world) but certain showers send shivers down my spine, showers where you can not detach the shower head. If I’m staying in a hotel or at a friends house that I have never stayed in before, one of the first things I do is check out the shower situation. My heart will sink if I spy a non-detachable shower head.
I discovered this fear in my cousin's garden when a garden hose was let loose in my face. Boy, did I scream and cry. I was about five at the time but the unpleasant memory has stayed with me and I still hate water splashing in my face, it panics me. I try to justify this water situation with the possibility that I drowned in a former life and this trauma has stayed in my subconsciousness. Otherwise I’m an odd ball.

I am a day dreamer. I love to escape into my day dream world. Sometimes my head and my imagination are in another galaxy far, far away - a bit like Star Wars! This is all very well but it can interrupt or over lap into real life. Sometimes I’ll be so caught up in a day dream that I will forget where I am going or what I am doing. It has been known for me to suddenly realise I should be in the real world and I’ve missed a vital piece of information or I’ve left my belongings behind. I’ve simply got up and walked away from my bag/purse/book/umbrella/scarf. Life can be expensive if you’re a day dreamer, not to mention a little confusing.

I look forward to the day immensely when I become a mum. Although having said this, I worry that I’ll leave it too late for my biological clock (tick, tick, can you hear it ticking away?!) or there will be complications and having children will not be possible. This thought really scares me. I know I will be devastated if I can’t have kiddies and I’m not sure how I will cope if I’m told this. I do hope this is an unnecessary fear and one day I will have a mini me roaming this planet - may God help us! A mini me to love and teach and look after.

I once invented a friend called Brenda Gender. My best friend at the time was friends with another girl who she used to talk about constantly, and I regret to admit I was rather jealous. Don’t you just hate that green eyed monster? I was young and naive at the time. These days I rarely have a jealous mood or a jealous bone in my body. In fact, I despise that jealous emotion. It can eat away at you and cause painful, gaping holes which you might question if they will ever mend again.
Anyway, I pretended to have a friend called Brenda Gender and I began to talk about her and all the fun we had together. How childish, but then again I was a child at the time who had a lot of growing up to do. To this day I’m not sure if my friend believed me?! She either thought my friend had a very strange name or that I was a very strange person to invent a fictional person, with a very strange name.

If clumsiness was the same as lightening, it has struck me far too many times. I have fallen through a pane of glass, cut my hand open with a scalpel, fallen to the ground/into things so many times that I have sprained ankles, pulled ligaments, permanently damaged nerve endings, broken heels, ruined clothing and generally humiliated myself. Kermit the frog once sang It's Not Easy Being Green. My song would be It's Not Easy Being Clumsy.

Since as long as I’ve had an imagination it’s been a very vivid imagination and maybe a little dark. Often it is pitch dark.
I own folders full of stories that I have written to amuse myself. They began as love stories in my tender teenage years. But not your typical, happy ending love story. Oh no, these love stories were from my imagination, therefore disaster strikes and the hand of fate is not a successful hand. Not long ago, I stumbled across another folder filled with stories written in my 20’s. Characters hanged themselves, suffered with abusive, alcoholic mothers, lost their relations as a result of food poisoning, became paralysed due to a motorway accident, said goodbye to their sanity through drug addiction, etc etc. After reading the folder I couldn’t help feeling a tad depressed. Had I not written the stories myself, I would have questioned the writers frame of mind and perhaps thought they needed therapy for a deep rooted problem with death and destruction!
I think that’s maybe why I try to keep things light on FPE. Life can be hard enough without sombre and sad thoughts from me, causing manic depression to my readers! Don’t worry FPE readers, I am always in awe that people out there actually bother to read drivel that I have written and to leave a comment, so I’ll try not to let you down and leave you feeling down!

I tag anyone who reads this and wished to indulge. Especially:

http://blurting.blogspot.com/

http://ailema4ever.blogspot.com/

http://jyankee.wordpress.com/

http://ladelirante.blogspot.com/

http://thekitchenbitchponders.blogspot.com/

http://www.kryblings.com/

Picture of the day:

Seeing as this tag is all about me, here is a picture of me. It's also in preparation for Halloween tomorrow. Do I look scared? No? Maybe I should of read one of my 'love' stories first!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

My friend's wedding

Sometimes you meet somebody and you know almost instantly that you will become close friends. Have you ever felt like that? That's how I felt when I met my friend Annie. We met in a pub and we were introduced to each other through my ex boyfriend Martin. I was immediately attracted to her warm, genuine smile and her bubbly personality. Before long we'd exchanged telephone numbers and I was spending more time with her than my boyfriend. Sorry Martin! But that's another story, maybe I'll tell you about him one day, but for now this is the story of Annie and I.
For sixteen years we've shared laughter, tears and wine bottles. We've been on many holidays together, one where we accidentally returned to the hotel in a police car. We've seen the new year in together at many new years eve parties, one was spent in a tyre shop. We've been to countless other parties together, one of them we sat the majority of the night in a shoe cupboard. It was a very big shoe cupboard, someone else joined us and and various other people were searching for us for a very long time.
Annie has been there for me when I sprained my ankle, again, and she whisked me off to the hospital, again. (There was a stage in my life where I was repeatedly having accidents concerning my feet and ankles and it seemed I was permanently attached to a pair of crutches.) She's shared my triumphs and my failures and many other things in between. And now she is married.
Saturday was Annie's wedding day and what a spectacular day. It was held in a magnificent Abbey, with a roaring log fire, a quartet playing in the grand hall and a live band singing and playing instruments in the evening. The food was an excellent standard, all the tables were named after cheeses and the wedding cake was made from a selection of cheeses. (You may know by now that I like cheese, well Annie's dad likes it so much that he's written a published book about cheese.) The speeches were a mixture of sentiments and laughter. Her wedding dress was stunning and the happy couple have never looked happier.
I truly believe that she has met her perfect match and I know her husband will love her and look after as she deserves to be. What more could a girl want?
Apart from a huge plate of very strong cheese.

Pictures of the day:

Outside the venue.


Inside the venue.


The wedding quartet.


Meal time.


Cutting the cake.


The dessert.


Me.